WASHINGTON—It's a long-standing joke among journalists that the go-to political headline in a pinch is: "Democrats in Disarray." Somewhere, somehow, it's probably true.
WASHINGTON—It will be good for the country and the Democratic Party for Joe Biden to run for president. But it could be hell on him. If Biden backed off from running, he would be cast as a martyr to "political correctness" and "the new multiculturalism" by many of the same conservatives who would do everything they could to defeat him if he won the nomination. Faux sympathy of this sort is starting to appear on the right. It's designed precisely to undercut further advances toward gender and racial equality.
The five days in 2008 between the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary were Hillary Clinton’s crucible. They showed what she’s made of and that she should never be underestimated. After Barack Obama’s overwhelming victory in Iowa, the polls all suggested he was about to deliver the second shot of a one-two punch that would have crippled her campaign.
In American politics, where has God gone? Of course this is an inadequate way of posing the question. God is always present for believers, even if the political workings of the divine can be hard to discern. And religious people continue to occupy points all along the spectrum. Just ask Hillary Clinton about her Methodism. But especially among Republicans, religious issues have taken a back seat in the party’s discourse and religious leaders are playing a diminished role in the 2016 campaign.
The success of Bernie Sanders’ insurgency is a marvel and an achievement. His showing is a mark of the anger and frustration felt by so many Americans over the abuses of capitalism that led to the crash of 2008. With the help of millions of voters, especially the young, he has broadened a political debate long hemmed in by the dominance of conservative assumptions and the stifling of progressive aspirations.
The first rule in elections is: Go for the votes you can get. By that measure, Hillary Clinton is right to try to put the old Obama coalition on steroids. Donald Trump will expand the Democrats’ opportunities among non-white Americans, and produce Clinton landslides among Latinos. They have good reason to fear and despise the man who has demeaned them. And watch Republicans for Clinton become a major force in American politics, an alliance of mostly well-off, well-educated voters — plus women of all classes.
Republicans are a more ideological party than the Democrats, but ideology has mattered less in the GOP primaries this year than in the race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Clinton is in a nearly unassailable position to win her party’s nomination.
If authenticity is your calling card, how do you become authentically inauthentic? Welcome to the New Donald Trump, a marvel of the Twitter-Cable-Facebook Non-Industrial Complex and the age of minuscule attention spans. It took Richard Nixon prodigious feats of hard work between 1962 and 1968 to create the New Nixon who got himself into the White House. But in an era when “brand” is both a noun and a verb and when “curating” is the thing to do, why should it surprise us that the New Trump took less than two weeks to fabricate?
Compared with the ferocious fractiousness of the Republican campaign, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are operating by rules inspired by St. Francis of Assisi, the gentle animal-loving holy man whom Pat Buchanan once derided as “the pacifist with the pigeons.” But with the GOP setting a very high standard for political brutality, that’s not saying much. Any doubt that Clinton and Sanders are fed up with each other was put to rest in last Thursday’s debate.
Donald Trump has decided that sexism in the quest for victory is no vice. Trump’s supporters have regularly asked why his long string of primary successes has not led his Republican opponents to accept him as “the presumptive nominee,” the phrase he used about himself Tuesday night. The candidate helpfully answered the question by showing that there is nothing normal about his campaign for the presidency. A candidate on the verge of taking it all is usually gracious about his foes inside the party and conscious of the need to broaden his appeal beyond it.